defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Definition of defect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an imperfection or abnormality that impairs quality, function, or utility : shortcoming, flaw carefully inspect a tire for defects examined the porcelain for defects a moral defect in his nature neural tube defects defects of metabolism
2 chemistry : an imperfection (such as a vacancy or an unlike atom) in a crystal lattice (see lattice sense 2)

defect

verb
de·​fect | \ di-ˈfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) \
defected; defecting; defects

Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology a former KGB agent who defected to America
2 : to leave one situation (such as a job) often to go over to a rival the reporter defected to another network

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Other Words from defect

Verb

defector \ di-​ˈfek-​tər How to pronounce defector (audio) \ noun

Examples of defect in a Sentence

Noun They examine their products for defects. She was born with a heart defect. Vanity and pride were his two worst character defects. Verb The Russian scholar defected in 1979. She defected from the conservative party. He defected to the West before the war began. The reporter defected to another TV network.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The defect could lead to water seepage and premature deterioration of the station walls. Washington Post, "Metro’s IG finds new problems with Silver Line construction," 7 Sep. 2019 The lawsuit said the defect with the climate control system is in Explorer model years 2011-2018. CBS News, "Washington state troopers sue Ford, saying patrol vehicles gave them carbon monoxide poisoning," 9 Aug. 2019 But county officials failed to meet the state’s basic requirements, including properly documenting the jail’s defects. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California," 20 July 2019 Infants with the defect are more likely to have developmental problems and are more vulnerable to brain injury. Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "Infants with mothers living near oil and gas production at higher risk of heart defects: study," 18 July 2019 No deaths are publicly known to have been linked to the defect. Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway," 11 July 2019 The researchers genetically modified the patients’ blood-forming stem cells to correct the defect, multiplied them, and reintroduced them. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Biotech notebook: Public service on stem cell science," 6 July 2019 The defect can affect mental development and motor function and can lead to paralysis. Ginger Christ, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Clinic makes strategic move into prenatal care, performs first in utero fetal surgery," 24 June 2019 Surgery to repair the defect can be performed after a child is born, but the results are often better if it can be accomplished before birth. Denise Grady, New York Times, "A Boy Who Had Spinal Surgery in the Womb Stands on His Own Two Feet," 24 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The decision on Tuesday, however, also raised the prospect that electors could legally defect at the last minute, and decide the occupant of the White House on their own in dramatic fashion, weeks after Election Day. Fox News, "Overstock CEO resigns amid ties to Russia probe, says he received 'fishy orders' from ex-FBI official Strzok," 23 Aug. 2019 But the story of South Station is also the story of all passenger railway stations in the United States: decline and disrepair post-World War II as travelers defected for automobiles and sprawling suburbs. Deanna Pan, BostonGlobe.com, "A day at South Station: A gateway to Boston, an intersection of many different lives," 17 Aug. 2019 Brown was able to work behind the scenes to keep partial control of the Assembly the following winter and spring, while Republicans mounted recall elections against those who had defected. Los Angeles Times, "The California Assembly’s keeper of rules and rituals calls it a career," 13 Sep. 2019 Ahmed al-Saood, the commander of a local rebel faction who had previously defected from the Syrian government army. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Russia, Turkey to Create Buffer Zone in Syrian Opposition Stronghold," 17 Sep. 2018 That fell apart last month after several clubs defected to the NISA. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pro soccer team 1904 FC prepares for its first home game with some familiar faces," 13 Sep. 2019 The prime minister’s own brother defected, broadcasting his displeasure. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Reasons to Bet for or against Brexit," 11 Sep. 2019 His government lost its working majority as one Conservative lawmaker defected to the opposition, and more than 20 Tory legislators sided with the opposition on the no-deal vote. Danica Kirka And Jill Lawless, chicagotribune.com, "Rebellion in Parliament: MPs look to steal Brexit control from prime minister, who vows new elections if he’s undercut," 4 Sep. 2019 Taxi drivers nationwide are facing similar crises as customers defect to cheaper, more convenient ride services. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "‘We cannot make a living’: SF cabdrivers’ debts mount amid Uber, Lyft battle," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of defect

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defect

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Latin dēfectus "failure, absence, lack, weakness," from dēficere "to be lacking, run short, weaken, fail" + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at deficient

Verb

borrowed from Latin dēfectus, past participle of dēficere "to be lacking, fail, become disaffected, go over (to the side of an opponent)" — more at deficient

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Statistics for defect

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for defect

The first known use of defect was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for defect

defect

noun
How to pronounce defect (audio) How to pronounce defect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of defect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a physical problem that causes something to be less valuable, effective, healthy, etc.
: something that causes weakness or failure

defect

verb
How to pronounce defect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to leave a country, political party, organization, etc., and go to a different one that is a competitor or an enemy

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈfekt\

Kids Definition of defect

1 : something that makes a thing imperfect : flaw A slight defect lowered the diamond's value.
2 : a lack of something needed for perfection Doctors can correct the hearing defect.

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈ How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Medical Definition of defect

: a lack or deficiency of something necessary for adequacy in form or function a hearing defect

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defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Legal Definition of defect

: something or a lack of something that results in incompleteness, inadequacy, or imperfection: as
a : a flaw in something (as a product) especially that creates an unreasonable risk of harm in its normal use — see also latent defect
b : an error or omission in a court document (as an indictment or pleading)
c : some imperfection in the chain of title to property that makes the title unmarketable

Other Words from defect

defective \ di-​ˈfek-​tiv How to pronounce defective (audio) \ adjective
defectively adverb
defectiveness noun

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